Pacific Northwest
Wild Salmon Center

WA - Washington receives $39.8 million to remove fish barriers, restore salmon habitat

Cantwell, Murray celebrate NOAA grants aimed at boosting salmon and orca populations by funding fish barrier removal projects such as small obsolete dams, culverts, and other blockages

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will award $39,819,704 to Tribes, communities, and local governments in Washington state for removal of fish passage barriers like small dams and culverts, to open up salmon migration routes, and allow more salmon to return to their spawning grounds.

Of the 10 projects funded in Washington state, nine will be led by or completed in partnership with Tribes. Together, these projects will help recover habitats for endangered migratory fish and support the sustainability of commercial, recreational, and Tribal fisheries.

“These first projects from the NOAA’s Restoring Fish Passage Through Barrier Removal Program will support 10 projects in Washington aimed at jumpstarting salmon recovery by removing salmon-blocking culverts and other stream obstructions,” said Senator Cantwell. “Barriers like obsolete dams and impassable block salmon from migrating to their spawning grounds across the state, from the Skagit and Snohomish rivers in Northwest Washington to the Washougal River in Southwest Washington, and the Yakima River and Columbia River basins in Central Washington to the Hoquiam River on the Olympic Peninsula. These projects help recover salmon stocks important to Southern resident orcas, coastal ecosystems and our economy by supporting commercial, recreational, and Tribal fishing communities.”

“Salmon are foundational to Washington state’s economy, culture, and traditions. Preserving and protecting fish populations and habitats matters for all of us. I did everything I could to secure historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Washington state fish passages and Tribal fisheries. I’ll keep working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure Congress is doing its part to help save our salmon,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

Sen. Cantwell, who serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, oversees key investments in salmon restoration and resiliency. Last year, she and Sen. Murray secured $2.855 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for salmon and ecosystem restoration programs, representing the single largest investment in salmon recovery in history.

Sen. Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been a leader in the Senate and throughout the appropriations process to ensure Congress delivers investments that will benefit fish migration and support endangered and harvestable salmon species alike.

This year, Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray secured over $16 million for fishery disaster assistance funding for several Tribes in Washington state and $5 million to support fish migration at the Cle Elum Reservoir. Through the BIL, Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray also helped secure $220 million to create a new fish passage at the Howard Hanson damthat will be critical toward salmon recovery efforts in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

Across the country, NOAA announced nearly $105 million for 36 fish passage projects this year, as well as an additional $61 million in future year funding under the BIL. This year, Washington state received the largest allocation in the nation in both the amount of money received and the number of projects funded.

The following organizations in Washington state received funding for fish passage projects.

Olympic Peninsula:

$10.39 million for culvert removal in the Quillayute and Quinault watersheds

Wild Salmon Center and partners will be awarded $10,396,280 to design, permit, and remove nine culverts on county and Tribal reserve roads. The project is part of the Coldwater Connection Campaign, which is a partnership between non-profits, stakeholders, and state, federal, and local agencies to reconnect 125 miles of high-quality salmon and steelhead streams in Washington’s coastal areas.

The project was developed with the Quileute and Quinault Tribes and will increase tribal capacity for fish passage restoration. Culvert replacements in the Quillayute and Quinault watersheds will improve access for native migratory salmonids to their historic range while improving the durability of public infrastructure.

Project partners include the Coast Salmon Partnership, Trout Unlimited, the Quileute Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Hoh Tribe and others.

$7.07 million for fish barrier replacements on the Olympic Peninsula

Trout Unlimited and partners will be awarded $7,071,627 to replace eight fish passage barriers as part of the Coldwater Connection Campaign.

The eight barriers were prioritized using a decision support tool that evaluated the potential ecological benefits of removing more than 500 fish passage barriers in the Olympic Peninsula. The culverts will be replaced with structures that fish are able to swim through to improve the resilience of salmon populations and transportation infrastructure.

The effort will open more than 7 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for commercially and recreationally important salmon species. Funding will also support hiring staff and support capacity building with the Hoh Tribe.

Project partners include the Wild Salmon Center, the Coast Salmon Partnership, the Quileute Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Hoh Tribe and others.

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